School shutdown drives students, parents and teachers to Waterloo’s math and computer science courseware, increasing engagement by more than 200 per cent
When schools closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, parents, teachers and students across Canada turned to the University of Waterloo Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) website, increasing engagement with its courseware by 200 per cent.
CEMC’s courseware, which covers the Canadian mathematics curriculum from grades 7 through 12, experienced an explosive increase in views for its lessons, interactive activities and enrichment challenges. The courseware gives students an unlimited opportunity to practice mathematics and computer science with feedback.
The courseware page has received more than 10 million page views in the 2019/2020 school year, with 3.1 million of these coming in April alone following the closure of schools across Canada and around the world. In the 2018/2019 school year, the courseware page received 3.1 million views in total.
“Canadian teachers, and many parents and guardians, already knew about our courseware page prior to the closure of schools across the country,” said Ian VanderBurgh, director of the CEMC. “So, while many subject areas were quickly searching for reliable online resources, math teachers knew much of what they needed was available through what CEMC had on its website resulting in a significant jump in the number of visitors to the page.”
When COVID-19 shut down schools and workplaces, parents and caregivers struggled with how to help their children keep up their learning. Parents and gaurdians had to keep their children engaged with their studies while working from home. CEMC saw a need and an opportunity to help, so in addition to courseware, in March, the CEMC launched CEMC at Home to provide a wide variety of fun and educational ways for children to do math and computer science while practicing physical distancing at home.
CEMC at Home, which came to an end in June as the school year concluded, received more than 300,000 page views with more than 200,000 downloads.
“The CEMC has an extensive history of working tirelessly with professors and current and retired teachers to build up resources for teachers, students, parents and guardians. It seems especially timely during the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mark Giesbrecht, dean of the Faculty of Mathematics. “The ability of the CEMC to help students learn, reduce stress on teachers and give parents confidence is something we’re very proud of.”